Malaysia urged to end detention of child refugees

Malaysia urged to end detention of child refugees

PETALING JAYA - The Child Rights Coalition Malaysia has urged the government to do away with the detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children as it has a lasting psychological effect on them.

The coalition of several children's rights Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) in Malaysia took up a United Nations call urging governments to end child detention by launching a month-long campaign that began on Sept 25.

The campaign, called End Immigration Detention of Children, aimed to educate people on child detentions and to garner at least 3,000 signatures to be handed to the relevant authorities.

A two-day event featuring skits, talks and exhibition was held at Publika Square and Publika Black Bridge in Kuala Lumpur.

Refugee children and activists fighting for the cause shared the horror of being detained at the 12 detention centers all over Malaysia, which are often overcrowded and lacking in the most basic facilities.

The coalition highlighted seven main problems at the immigration detention centers - overcrowding for the 150,000 odd detainees, lack of food and clean water, poor medical care, poor sanitation, limited number of bedding and the lack of special protection or procedure for children in the centers.

Malaysia has a large refugee and asylum seeker population, mainly from Myanmar.

Tenaganita programme officer Katrina Jorene Maliamauv said detainees in these centers are stripped of their dignity.

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